Growing lots of tasty vegetables can use a LOT of fertiliser, especially for high nutrient requirement plants like tomatoes. It can be quite expensive to feed your plants weekly with shop-bought fertiliser over the summer, but good news! There's a completely free alternative!
I first heard about this technique from my Nana, who has a wealth of frugal tips for gardening! It's great because you're helping your plants AND getting rid of weeds at the same time!
Here's how to do it:
- Find a particularly vicious-looking stinging nettle patch!
- Grab a large bucket or tub, preferably with a lid because this is going to get stinky!
- Once you have mostly filled the bucket with chopped stingers (this takes a fair while to achieve!), then grab a handy brick or rock and go to town on them even more, crushing them into oblivion. If you've been stung as many times as me in the past, you'll really enjoy this part. Yelling “DIE, DIE, DIE!” is optional, but enjoyable.
- Fill your bucket of mushy nettles with water, and please do cover it with a lid or something. You need to leave it for at least 3-4 weeks and it's a very smelly process!
- After a month or more of decomposing, your nettle-based fertiliser is now ready to use. Just skim out the plant material and use the tea-coloured liquid as fertiliser. PLEASE NOTE that this is potent stuff. If you apply the neat liquid directly to your plants it will scorch the leaves. You should dilute it one part to ten and apply no more than weekly to your plants.
I hope you enjoy the resulting vegetables, if not the smelly process in between! Just remember, it's free! :D
Got any top tips for growing your own? How are your plants doing?